Jamaica at 60 St Ann

Paul H. Williams/Gleaner Writer THE PARISH of St Ann is sprawling and green; a giant garden it is, with nature exploding into a beauty unrivalled in the land. Was it the reason why Columbus returned and stayed for one year? You might never know, but the story is that in this enchanted garden on the Rock, he took a 12-month nap, resting his weary head, legs and back. Imagine him lying in a little corner by himself, reflecting on his misfortunes and the ire from Isabel and Ferdinand of Spain upon his return. He falls asleep, but is jolted from his reverie by the screeches and chirps of crickets and whistling frogs. He listens to the sounds of water to soothe his disillusioned soul. The garden is overrun by bubbling brooks and lazy streams, some of which disappear below the surface into subterranean caves and caverns. The ones that remain on the surface meander through the rugged limestone hills into the Ocho Rios region where there is water gushing everywhere, but not a drop to drink. And Ocho Rios is not true; there are many more than eight rivers snaking through parks and mini gardens of arresting flowers and swaying trees where hummingbirds build their nests, and the breeze through the leaves sing you a lullaby ever so divine. In this garden of wood and water, there are also pools, smack in the heart of nature, that break the flow of rivers, such as Irie River, which runs through a ravine at Bonham Spring, near the district of Exchange. It’s like a small rainforest in the garden. Apart from its natural attributes, it has man-made facilities that help to make it an ideal picnic, cook-out and camping spot. The roar of Dunn’s River Falls and the sparkle of Little Dunn’s River say it all. They thunder to the coast in a rush to meet the sea, ignoring your cries of wait for me please. They are putting on a show, leaving you breathless, stunned and cool. It’s a garden of much geographical diversity. From the southern hills and forests, the land rambles down to the sea. Among the greenery bucolic vistas dot the space where people live, love, and laugh in unpretentious ways. Its northern end is full of coves and bays where sundrenched beaches are washed by the azure Caribbean Sea. The journey along the NorthSouth Highway is replete with scenes of rolling hills and gaping valleys. Over yonder the sights of fog and mist you cannot resist, and sometimes they come closer, pulling you into their smoky embrace, shrouding you in mystique and alarm at the same time. The garden is transformed into a fairy wonderland. But, where are the fairies? Ferns are bountiful in Fern Gully, one of the most famous parts of the garden. It is mesmerising and engaging, keeping you staring at the variety of species as you twist and turn around its curves. You feel dwarfed by the giant trees reaching up to the sky for the sunlight to keep them alive. Whoever or whatever made St Ann was thinking of another garden – Eden. St Ann is Eden in Jamaica. But, what’s missing? Adam and Eve, perhaps … NAME OF FEATURE | THE GLEANER | MONDAY, JUNE 27, 2022 6 The garden that is St AnnA section of the Turtle River Park in Ocho Rios, St Ann. FILE PHOTOS The river that runs through a property called Rio Chico along the Ocho Rios to Mammee Bay main road in St Ann adds to the paradisical allure of the place. The sparkling cascades of the beautiful and enchanting ‘Little Dunn’s River Falls’ near Mystic Mountain in St Ann. People chilling in the garden at Irie River, near Exchange, St Ann. jamaica at The garden is overrun by bubbling brooks and lazy streams, some of which disappear below the surface into subterranean caves and caverns. JAMAICA AT 60: ST ANN